Although the topic has gained attention in the mainstream media recently (e.g., Jennifer Lawrence notably very publicly complained that she was paid less than her male American Hustle motion picture co-stars), an inexcusable and significant pay gap remains between men and women in the workplace. According to recent reports, full-time working women earn 77% of their male colleagues and the gap is even greater for women of color. This inequity in pay causes ripples in families, society and the overall workforce. It is important to step up and speak up if you believe you are being less than your male counterparts. Our Award Winning New York Equal Pay Lawyer discusses in general two recent cases involving gender discrimination where women were paid less than men.
Federal and state laws prohibit unequal pay for male and female employees who perform the same duties. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 both prohibit paying employees differently based on their sex. The New York Labor Law has been amended effective January 19, 2016 – the changes include increased damages and place the burden on the employer to show the business justification for a pay disparity.
Agreeing to pay $63,500 and furnishing substantial equitable relief, food distributor Gilbert Foods LLC, trading as Hearn-Kirkwood, has resolved a complaint filed against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In its complaint, the EEOC alleged that the employer was paying a female order selector less than it paid her male counterparts, despite the fact that she had more experience and performed equal work.
Additionally, after learning that the employer paid a newly-hired male order selector a significantly hire wage per hour, she shared her intention to file a discrimination suit with coworkers. According the complaint, after learning of her intention, Hearn-Kirkwood then engaged in retaliatory behavior against the female employee, including unwarranted disciplinary actions that ultimately resulted in the employee being fired.
Together with the $63,500 for back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’ fees, the 3-year consent decree enjoins the employer from further discriminating or retaliating against employees based on sex. Additionally, the employer will perform training to management and their human resources officers on employment discrimination; they will posts notices of the settlement; and have to report to the EEOC about its compliance.
In its complaint against Stanley Martin, one of the Mid-Atlantic Region’s largest homebuilders, the EEOC charged the company with initially refusing to promote an employee to a managerial position because of her sex and then, after promoting her, paying her less than male managers with the same title and performing substantially equal work.
Entering into a two-year consent decree to resolve the allegations, Stanley Martin Companies, LLC, has agreed to pay $45,000 to the female manager; refrain from violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act; train all their managers, supervisors, and employees on the federal laws that relate to employment discrimination; revise their policies to remove pay secrecy rules (which restrict employees from discussing their salaries with co-workers); post a notice of the settlement; and report to the EEOC its compliance.
1. Keep good records – you should keep copies of your payroll records and time records and documents demonstrating your work performance. Some states allow your access your personnel file. We have discussed this topic before here. If you have the option, you should do so.
2. Talk to your employer about your pay and the basis for your pay. In addition, as of January 19, 2016, covered employers in New York State cannot prohibit employers from employees from inquiring about, discussing or disclosing wage information.
3. Talk to an experienced employment lawyer and learn your options under applicable law and your potential next steps.
Equal pay for equal work. A simple concept, but one that, even 50 years later, some employers still cannot wrap their heads around. Employees should be paid according to their title, position, hours worked, or other measurable and lawful basis.
If you are an employee who was paid less or believes she was paid less, call us at (800) 893-9645 to learn your rights. Each case is different and requires specific analysis. This blog post discusses this topic in general. You should seek legal advice on your specific situation.
Disclaimer: Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced attorney in your state or jurisdiction. From time to time, a blog post may discuss a legal case – please note that the post may not contain the most to update information on the case as developments may have occurred after it was created.